Battery woes kill smart luggage startup

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

New York-based Bluesmart raised crowdfunding for its smart luggage on Indiegogo in 2014 but shut down in May 2018 as a result of new airline regulations.

“The changes in policies announced by several major airlines at the end of last year—the banning of smart luggage with non-removable batteries—put our company in an irreversibly difficult financial and business situation,” said the company. “The company was finally forced to wind down its operations and explore disposition options, unable to continue operating as an independent entity.” 

One of the key problems is that it takes five steps to remove the batteries in the suitcases, which use Bluetooth links to an app on a phone to keep track of the luggage. Airlines banned such battery-powered systems in the holds of aircraft to prevent possible fires.

The charging and software technology developed by the company has been acquired by US luggage brand Travelpro. Although the company is no longer shipping its connected luggage, the Bluesmart servers and apps will be maintained for several months.

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